From APEngine 19 October 2009:
The merging of UK Film Council and BFI – ‘mooted’ by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in August – is going to happen, with the two organisations having been told they’ll become one by April 2010. It’s a tight schedule, and it doesn’t make the job any easier when apparently neither of the respective Chairs managed to make it to the first ‘project board’.
There are certainly some with some big issues to resolve – and legal and logistical hurdles, not least BFI’s charity status which means it can’t distribute Lottery funds. Then there’s the question of what happens to the Regional Screen Agencies – ostensibly independent bodies, but substantially funded by UK Film Council.
In the August statement, Film minister Siôn Michael said the new organisation would have “both a cultural and economic remit.”
As that’s already the case with UKFC -
“The UK Film Council is the Government backed lead agency for film in the UK ensuring that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at home and abroad.”
- and with a resurgence in respect for what the BFI’s doing with the Southbank, Mediatheque, and the London Film Festival, it seems likely that it’s UKFC that’s seen as failing. We hear there’s already some ‘severe streamlinling’ planned there, but no word of what the impact might be on the BFI. Though the British Library is known to be keen to get its hands on the Archive.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, more than one source tells us that UKFC has approached Arts Council England with a view to re-aligning their respective remits for moving image. The Arts Council funds artists’ moving image, but also many ‘media arts’ centres, with cinemas, that UKFC would like to get its hands on. Discussions can’t be easy: Arts Council Chair Liz Forgan and Chief Executive Alan Davey aren’t known to be UKFC boss John Woodward’s greatest fans…